Field Meeting: Pondhead Inclosure - 24 June

Our next members' field meeting will take place on Thursday 24 June, with a focus on butterflies.  We will meet at 10am at the Clayhill gate entrance to Beechen Lane (SU303071). Parking is limited but possible by the gate and in the approach road to the track.

Some rides have long grass so you may wish to take precautions to avoid ticks.

It will, of course, also be an opportunity to view some of the improvements we learned about during our October 2020 talk by a representative from the Pondhead Conservation Trust.

Several maps of Pondhead Inclosure can be viewed or downloaded here:

https://pondheadconservation.org/volunteer-area/pondhead-maps/

Wool-carder Bee (Anthidium manicatum)

I was lucky enough to see these bees in our garden a couple of days ago and was intrigued as to what they were.


The Wool-carder is a bee of the southern part of Britain, which nests in aerial cavities that other insects have created.  The name comes from the female’s method of collecting nesting materials.  She ‘cards’ fibres from plant stems (reminiscent of carding wool to separate the fibres).













These solitary bees have a single generation and may be seen flying from June to August.  The sexes are similar, though the males are larger and fiercely protect their territory.  They are easy to identify by the yellow markings along their abdomen and on their legs and faces.  They don’t have a sting as such but the male has sharp spines on its rear-end where the sting would be.

They are great pollinators favouring a number of plants with tubular flowers (such as the Mint family) or those with restricted access (such as the vetches and toadflaxes).

CR

All photos © Chris Robinson

Snakes in the Heather Celebration Event - 22 June

In March 2019, Lymington Naturalists welcomed a speaker from the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust who told us about their ‘Snakes in the Heather’ project. This was followed by a very successful Field Meeting to view the project in action. 

ARC are now running a Snakes in the Heather celebration event which will taking place at 6pm on Tuesday 22nd June via Zoom and they are extending an invitation to register as follows:

"We would be delighted if you would join us to hear all about Amphibian and Reptile Conservation’s flagship project, Snakes in the Heather, which is to conserve the UK's rarest reptile – the smooth snake, and the internationally important heathland habitat on which it depends. We will showcase the progress of the project to date, celebrate the work of our amazing volunteers, share some of our plans for the future and provide an opportunity for you to ask questions.
 
This is a free event run by the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust via Zoom – view the event agenda and register for your place below. You will  receive a joining link a week before the event."

More information and registration 

Walk Report: Keyhaven Marshes - 10 June

On an overcast morning 16 Lymnats’ members assembled at the Keyhaven end of the Keyhaven/Lymington nature reserve. The partial solar eclipse was intermittently visible, but you could feel the sea mist in the air.

There were a few small birds flitting about, mostly Linnets but also Meadow pipits and Skylarks. There was no sign of the usual Peregrines, which was not a good omen! There were very few birds on Keyhaven Lagoon, but things looked up when we got to Fishtail.

Avocet  

A pair of Avocets were displaying (and mating) at one end on the lagoon, with more on the island where they have been nesting. Three chicks were being watched by their parents and another adult was sitting on eggs.

Other waders present were Dunlin, Black-tailed godwits, Oystercatchers, Lapwings and a Little ringed plover. There were also more Linnets (still collecting nesting materials) and a pair of Stonechats.


Reed Warbler

We could hear Reed warblers all along the path but saw only one.

Eider


Between Butts and the Jetty (sewage outlet!) there were several Gadwall, a Raven being pursued by a Carrion crow and Eider duck on the sea (one male in moult quite close in).  Three species of Tern did a fly past (Common, Little and Sandwich).



Bee Orchid

We turned down the path towards Lower Pennington Lane and saw Whitethroat, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and heard a Cetti’s warbler. Of botanical interest were Bee orchids, Cut-leaved cranesbill and Sand spurrey (none of which I had ever noticed before!).

Greylag Goose

On Efford lake there were many Great Black-backed and Herring gulls, two Egyptian geese, one Swallow and one Swift. A Marsh harrier flew over.

We eventually saw about 50 species, and finally heard a Cuckoo when we got back to the car park.   CR

Species List: Raven, Carrion crow, Magpie, Marsh harrier, Kestrel, Eider, Shellduck, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveller, Dunlin, Black-tailed godwit, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Little ringed plover, Avocet, Canada goose, Egyptian goose, Grey-lag goose, Reed warbler, Cetti’s warbler, Reed bunting, Whitethroat, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Great crested grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Swallow, Swift, Wood pigeon, Great black-backed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Herring gull, Black-headed gull, Common tern, Sandwich tern, Little tern, Little egret, Mute swan, Robin, Blackbird, Song thrush, Starling, Skylark, Meadow pipit, Stonechat, Cuckoo.

Any I have missed is down to my failing faculties!

All photos: © C Robinson

Field Meeting: Keyhaven Marshes - 10 June

Our next field meeting will take place on Thursday 10 June, with a focus on birds.  We will meet at 10am at Keyhaven Harbour between the bridge and the entrance to the reserve.